Fab or Fail? 2013's Cultural Ups and Downs

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com December 20 2013 11:13 AM ET

SPORTS

Fab: Nike Ponies Up
Athletic apparel powerhouse Nike pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to the fight to establish marriage equality in the headquarters' home state of Oregon. The company also launched a second set of pride gear. But to help dismantle fears that athletes would lose endorsements by coming out, when it was reported that Nike planned to offer an endorsement deal the first active player in a men's major league to come out.

Fail: Closeted NFL Players
It was widely rumored for months earlier this year that somewhere between one and four NFL players were planning to come out. It ended up not happening, and NBA player Jason Collins stole the spotlight with a memorable treatment in Sports Illustrated.

TV NEWS

Fabulous: The Many Gay Anchors of MSNBC
Steve Kornacki became the third openly gay host or anchor at MSNBC, joining Thomas Roberts and Rachel Maddow. The progressive-leaning news network added Kornacki with the weekend roundtable show Up.

Fail: Alec Baldwin
The success of Alec Baldwin's podcast, Here's the Thing, was an indicator of how great his MSNBC show Up Late could have been. But after just a couple of episodes aired, Baldwin was caught in an egregious spat with a photographer, calling him a "cocksucking little fag." Baldwin was immediately suspended, and he subsequently stepped down from MSNBC.

ACRONYMS

Fabulous: GLAAD Changes Its Name
Signaling that its mission has expanded to be a watchdog for bisexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation shortened its name to GLAAD. To mark the occasion, transgender journalist Janet Mock (pictured above, left) made the announcement with GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. “This is a reflection of the work we’re doing today and a reflection of the work the gay and lesbian community needs to be doing,” GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro told MSNBC.com in March. “Our name was hindering that in many instances.”

Fail: BET Versus B. Scott
Vlogger and TV personality B. Scott, who is transgender but prefers male pronouns, was hired to appear on the pre-show for the BET Awards this summer. Scott's wardrobe was reportedly approved by producers (black heels, loose black pants, and a flowing dark blue tunic), but he was soon told that his outfit was inappropriate,and that he needed to wear more masculine attire. "[BET said] I needed to pull my hair back, mute my makeup, change into solely men's clothing, and take off my heels and put on flats," Scott recalls being told. "That to me was just so shocking, it was like, 'You're not accepted. We do not approve of you.' It made me feel less than, it made me feel like something was wrong with me."

MUSIC

Fabulous: Macklemore and Mary Lambert's "Same Love"
Barely known Seattle rapper Macklemore first captured our hearts with "Same Love," an unflinching anthem heralding marriage equality and humanity toward others, backed by the lovely vocals of lesbian singer Mary Lambert. The song became an anthem during the fight to establish marriage equality in Washington State. The song hit the hip-hop charts, along with a handful of his other hits like "Thrift Shop," and "Can't Hold Us," but hearing "Same Love" was the first time many people fell in love with Macklemore.

Fail: Michelle Shocked
Punk-folk singer Michelle Shocked first told an audience at a San Francisco area jazz club that marriage equality would doom us all, to the dismay of legions of loyal LGBT fans. She continued to defend her stance, even as music venues canceled planned shows.

LITERATURE

Fabulous: Richard Blanco
Gay poet Richard Blanco joined the ranks of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost by serving as the poet for President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

Fail: The Book of Matt
A book needlessly digging up supposed details around the heinous killing of gay college student Matthew Shepard? No thanks.

LESBIANS WHO WENT VIRAL

Fabulous: Poetry Slam Winner
Denice Frohman edged out 11 other finalists to take first place at the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam with her rousing spoken-word performance of “Dear Straight People.” The video of her performing the poem, which touched on feeling apprehensive about showing affection in public, and common awkward questions straight people pose to LGBT people, went viral.

Fail: Waitress Receipt Hoax
The country rallied behind a lesbian waitress who said she was handed a  receipt from a family she had just waited on reading, "I'm sorry, but I cannot tip because I don't agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." Dayna Morales, a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, N.J., received a flood of cash from sympathetic people who heard the story, which spread online quickly. The family she served, however, came forward with their copy of the receipt, which did not include the handwritten note but instead,an $18 tip. They corroborated the charge with a copy of their credit card statement. Morales was later let go from her job at the restaurant.